Jose Mari Chan's "Christmas In Our Hearts" is probably the biggest selling Filipino Christmas album of all time, and I was part of it. As a member of the Ateneo College Glee Club at the time the album was recorded in the early 90's, I got to sing in 2 of the album's songs and got to do the vocal arrangement for one of them.
Two decades later, I am part of Jose Mari Chan's new Christmas album, but this time, aside from vocal arranging and singing backup on one of the tracks, I actually got to co-write 2 songs with him! A dream come true for any songwriter!
His second Christmas album is called "Going Home To Christmas." Work on this album began - believe it or not - over a decade ago, which was when he gave me a cassette tape of this beautiful melody he had come up with and asked me to write the lyrics. It was a challenge for me because Joe's melody was the kind you wouldn't want to mess with nor alter even a tiny bit. It was also a melody that any skilled lyricist would know required some internal rhyming. And knowing his audience and picturing an orchestral arrangement for the song, I wanted a lyric that would give the song universal and timeless appeal. Given all these parameters I came up with a lyric called "Christmas Air." The song has 2 versions in the album - Joe's vocal version arranged by Homer Flores, and a special instrumental orchestral version produced, arranged and conducted by Yaron Gershovsky, recorded in New York. With all the hard work Joe put into this song, it's obviously one of his favorites in the album and I am so honored to have co-written this song!
I also wrote a Christmas love song lyric which he edited and set to music. The song is now called "Starlight" and performed by guest singer Noelle Cassandra. The other song I got to work on was the album opener "Ring In The New" arranged by my friend Marvin Querido. This cut is a reunion of sorts for us, as we had worked on the song "Sound Of Life" from Joe's first album while we were still in college.
Today is Christmas Day and I am thankful for many things - for family and friends, for love and many blessings which include this wonderful chance to collaborate with a great artist. Joe, thank you for your friendship and for your trust. May you continue touching people's hearts with your music for many years to come.
My name is Trina Belamide and I'm a songwriter and record producer.
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